Automatically registering voters anytime they register with certain state government agencies was considered a major legislative priority by some at the statehouse, but lawmakers haven’t put the necessary tax dollars behind it to get it started. As it is right now, Illinois residents can opt in to registering to vote when they get or update information for a state ID card or driver’s license. Lawmakers pushed to make that automatic and to include more state agencies. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the original automatic voter registration bill in 2016 with suggested changes he said made the bill better. Lawmakers followed his lead in 2017 and passed automatic voter registration.
Illinois State Board of Elections General Counsel Ken Menzel said that directed the elections board to start implementing the program.
“We haven’t gotten any money appropriated for it quite yet,” Menzel said. “There’s a supplemental appropriation request pending with the legislature but we do have staff working on it as best we can. The staff that’s working on it has been updating the board on a monthly basis.”
Menzel said the elections office would need more than half a million dollars to get technology and programming in place.